Text Message Interventions Were Effective in Beacon Communities | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Text Message Interventions Were Effective in Beacon Communities

December 20, 2013
by Gabriel Perna
| Reprints

Researchers at the University of Michigan say that text messages can help decrease your risk for type 2 diabetes, using data from the txt4health pilots done with the Southeast Michigan and Greater Cincinnati Beacon Communities.

The researchers surveyed people who enrolled in the customized texting service, which relayed targeted, detailed information on diabetes prevention to underserved communities. A majority of those who were surveyed said the free mobile education program made them more aware of their diabetes risk and more likely to make diet-related behavior changes and lose weight. The study did not include those from the Crescent City (New Orleans) Beacon Community, which also participated in txt4health.

The one caveat is that the program worked well for those who completed it, but only 39 percent stuck through all 14 weeks. The research appears in two new studies published online in the Journal of Medical Internet Research today. Similar research from researchers at Duke University backed up this text message premise.

"We found that this method of health intervention had potential to significantly influence people's health habits and have great reach – however, sustained participant engagement across the 14 weeks was lower than desired," stated lead author of both studies Lorraine R. Buis, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the U-M Medical School.

Participants said they were more likely to replace sugary drinks with water (78 percent), have a piece of fresh fruit instead of dessert (74 percent), substitute a small salad for chips or fries when dining out (76 percent), buy healthier foods when grocery shopping (80 percent), and eat more grilled, baked, or broiled foods instead of fried (76 percent).

The majority of survey respondents said the text messages were easy to understand (100 percent), that the program made them knowledgeable of their risk for developing type 2 diabetes (88 percent) and more aware of their dietary and physical activity habits (89 percent).

As Mike Samet, public information officer of Hamilton County Public Health and the man who operated the Greater Cincinnati’s version of Txt4Health, said in an HCI feature, these programs are typically targeted at underserved populations.

“It was a wide-open program in that anyone could participate, but we tried to concentrate on underserved communities because their propensity for diabetes is higher,” Samet explained. “Also, that population often finds itself outside of traditional healthcare opportunities. Plus, because it was free, it seemed ideal for that group.”

Topics

News

Former Michigan Governor to Serve as Chair of DRIVE Health

Former Michigan Governor John Engler will serve as chair of the DRIVE Health Initiative, a campaign aimed at accelerating the U.S. health system's transition to value-based care.

NJ Medical Group Launches Statewide HIE, OneHealth New Jersey

The Medical Society of New Jersey (MSNJ) recently launched OneHealth New Jersey, a statewide health information exchange (HIE) that is now live.

Survey: 70% of Providers Using Off-Premises Computing for Some Applications

A survey conducted by KLAS Research found that 70 percent of healthcare organizations have moved at least some applications or IT infrastructure off-premises.

AMIA Warns of Tax Bill’s Impact on Graduate School Programs in Informatics

Provisions in the Republican tax bill that would count graduate student tuition waivers as taxable income would have detrimental impacts on the viability of fields such as informatics, according to the American Medical Informatics Association.

Appalachia Project to Study Relationship Between Increased Broadband Access, Improved Cancer Care

The Federal Communications Commission and the National Cancer Institute have joined forces to focus on how increasing broadband access and adoption in rural areas can improve the lives of rural cancer patients.

Survey: By 2019, 60% of Medicare Revenues will be Tied to Risk

Medical groups and health systems that are members of AMGA (the American Medical Group Association) expect that nearly 60 percent of their revenues from Medicare will be from risk-based products by 2019, according to the results from a recent survey.